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Friday, 12 August 2016 12:45

Peace TV wakes up MIB with a knee jerk reaction

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After receiving reports of some TV channels airing content aimed at inciting communal and terrorist violence and causing security threats, MIB has issued advisory to all cable operators and directions to state authorised officers for taking immediate action against any such TV channel.  

In particular, reports are being received of such content being broadcast through private satellite TV channels, such as Peace TV, which are not permitted by this Ministry for downlinking into the country. Ministry has directed that broadcast or transmission of such non-permitted channels is stopped immediately by the cable operators and DTH operators. 

Speaking on the controversy of Peace TV, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Sh. Venkaiah Naidu said, "We have seen in recent days that the so-called Peace TV is affecting peace and then several countries have also banned that channel. But here the question of banning does not arise as it is not permitted at all." 

Incidentally, Bangladesh has banned the TV channel after investigations indicated that the terrorists who killed 22 people on the night of 01 July could have been inspired by Naik's teachings.

As per the Section 5 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995, no person shall transmit or re-transmit through a cable service any programme unless such programme is in conformity with the programme code given in the Cable Television Network (CTN) Rules 1994 framed under the cable TV Act. The nature of the contents prohibited to be transmitted or re-transmitted are given in the in the programme code under Rule 6 of these Rules.

Specific clauses of the Cable TV Rules concerning the present controversy are:-

Rule 6(c) - Contains attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes;

Rule 6(e) - is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti-national attitudes;

Rule 6(h)- Contains anything affecting the integrity of the Nation; and

Rule 6(i)- Criticises, maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public and moral life of the country.

Sub Rule 6(6) of the Cable TV Rules specifies that no cable operator shall carry or include in his cable service any television broadcast or channel which has not been registered by the Central Government for being viewed within the territory of India.

As per Cable TV Act, if any authorized officer has reasons to believe that various provisions of the Act including the programme code are violated by any operator, he has the following powers to take action against that operator;

i.Seizure of equipment under Section 11.

ii.Punishment for contravention of provisions of the Act under section 16.

As per Section 2 of the cable TV Act, the “authorized officer', within his local limits of jurisdiction means:

i. a District Magistrate' or

ii. a Sub-divisional Magistrate' or

iii. a commissioner of Police, and include any other officer notified in the Official Gazette, by the central Government or the State Government, to be an authorized officer for such local limits of jurisdiction as may be determined by that Government. 

iv. Subsequently as per the Gazette Notification number 589 of 7th March 2016, issued by the ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Additional District Magistrates have also been declared as the Authorised officers.

In addition, I&B Ministry has advised all state Governments to constitute State and District Level Monitoring Committee for broadcast content monitoring.

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